Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 14, 2011 08:47 ET

Minister MacKay Meets With Canadian Forces Personnel Deployed on Operation MOBILE

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 14, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today visited Canadian Forces personnel serving with Operation MOBILE, Canada's contribution to the NATO-led mission to protect civilians in Libya. Minister MacKay met with personnel at the Canadian air component in Trapani and the coalition headquarters in Naples, where he met with Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, the Canadian general commanding the NATO mission.

"The deployment of Canadian Forces under Operation MOBILE, represents this Government's continuing commitment to international security and cooperation, and confirms the leadership role of the Canadian Forces in today's global security environment," said Minister MacKay. "I am extremely proud of Canada's men and women in uniform who are fighting to protect civilians from the violence of the Gaddafi regime, and whose hard work is central to NATO operations in Libya."

"NATO forces continue to stay engaged in achieving the objectives of our mission to protect the people of Libya," said Lieutenant-General Bouchard. "The No-Fly Zone and arms embargo have been continuously enforced by NATO and partner nations, including Canada, and we will continue to use all necessary measures to prevent pro-Gaddafi forces from attacking and threatening to attack innocent people."

Known as Task Force Libeccio, Canada's aircraft are currently flying from two NATO bases in Italy: Trapani-Birgi, a forward operating base co-located with Vincenzo Florio Airport on the western point of the island of Sicily; and Sigonella, a major naval air base on the eastern coast of Sicily. Task Force Libeccio operations are directed by the Task Force Commander (also referred to as the Air Component Commander) and his staff from a third NATO base, the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre 5 (CAOC 5) in Poggio Renatico, Italy.

Operation MOBILE is the Canadian Forces' participation in Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR, the NATO-led effort to impose on Libya the arms embargo and no-fly zone authorized in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 of 17 March 2011, which called on the international community to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas in Libya.

Note to Editor: For more information and imagery on Operation MOBILE, visit the website of the Canadian Forces Expeditionary Force Command at: http://www.comfec-cefcom.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/ops/mobile/index-eng.asp

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